The rise of matchmaking sites in Rwanda

AS PEOPLE get busy with work and engagements, it is no longer easy to find time to meet people and get partners.

In the western world, matchmaking websites have proved to be a good avenue for finding a partner, something that is getting replicated in Africa too.

Nowadays, finding love has become digital, you can find the love of your life at the click of a computer. The question is, are these dating websites safe and effective?

True Love (https://truelove-rwanda.com) is a new and the only website in Rwanda whose aim is to connect singles between 20 years to 89, to their perfect match.

According to Helene Wieringa, the CEO and founder of True Love Rwanda, through online dating, you describe who you are, your interests, education background, work details, physical appearance, the kind of partner you are searching for and attach your photo.

Helene Wieringa is the chief executive and founder of True Love Rwanda. 

This helps you find that person you can connect with especially when you have the same interests, yet it is private because your details won’t be exposed online.

She says you need to answer a list of questions, for them to be sure you are not hiding your identity. They need open and sincere people who know what they want.

“I have been happily married for 26 years and I think it is a great feeling for everyone to find love. When I visited Rwanda three years back, I interacted with a lot of people and somehow all their stories pointed about the uncertainties in love.
“I had a chat with widows, the divorced, and the singles who were failing to find love. I thought of how best I could help them.

“Through research, I found out that there was no dating website in Rwanda yet in my home country, the Netherlands, dating websites have been in existence for 20 years and people find true love through online dating. In 2017, I started this website in Rwanda, though it was officially launched in 2018, and so far, it is working,” Wieringa says.

Olivier Niyongabire, the Managing Director True Love, notes that it is advisable to meet for the first time in a public place so that you know this person better, as you build trust.

One of the couples who have used the website to find partners. / Courtesy photos

He also says that the team does follow ups when you start dating to make sure everything is moving on well. In case you don’t con¬nect with that person, there is a chance to try out someone else.

“I didn’t think finding a partneronline was something to take serious, so I gave it a try on ‘true love website’, I talked to Emmanuel Manzi who was also looking for love, whenever we agreed to meet, I was afraid and we ended up cancelling. However, the fourth time, I gained courage to meet him. It all went well and with time, we started knowing each other more and deeply.

“He had all the traits I was looking for in a man. We started dat¬ing last year in April and in November the same year, our civil marriage took place. We live in Musanze and we are happy, this was a great opportunity for both of us, the rest is history,” says Kelly Umutoni, one of the website’s former subscribers.

Niyongabire notes that you should only subscribe to True Love website if you are serious; as there are no games entertained, no playing with people’s feelings or wasting their time. Prostitution is highly discouraged.

The site’s purpose is to find the person you love and even proceed to marry. If you are already in a relationship, don’t subscribe because it is for only singles.

Olivier Niyongabire is the Managing Director of True love dating website. 

He adds that the website not only connects you to your true love, but also has counselors and dating experts that counsel you about relationships. The monthly subscription for regular membership is Rwf 4,500 per month and Rwf 9,500 for VIP per month.

The regular membership offers some permission, but if you decide to be a VIP member, you can use the website to add blog posts, comments on events and photos, creating and editing topics, creating groups, sending virtual gifts, private messages, and starting chat dialogue among others.


WOULD YOU GO TO A MATCHMAKING SITE TO GET A PARTNER?

I would definitely go for online dating because you meet a stranger and build a friendship from nothing, and the bond grows with time. Since you are both searching for love, there might be no room for games.

As you meet more often, you get to share problems, and find solutions. It is one event that leads to the other, when you feel you have known someone better, that is when you can go ahead and date them.

Nicholas, IT Specialist

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No, I believe nature has a way of bringing what is important to you. The online love doesn’t seem real; there is always that fear of dating someone because you don’t know their intentions.

I believe if someone is meant to be yours, you don’t have to strain because he or she will find you when the right time comes. We were all created for someone special, we ought to be patient.

Angell, entrepreneur

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I wouldn’t look for love online, neither would I advise anyone to do so. It is limiting in the sense that you will only be meeting people who are internet addicts.

It is also a short time remedy, most especially for people who are bored and lonely.

Most online daters miss out on their prospective future partners in search for an endless anticipation of finding the right one.

There is a risk of hackers; someone can use your information for their own benefit, some people could be looking for financial support claiming to be looking for love.

Sometimes someone can hide a lot about themselves, for instance; they could be married and even have kids.

It is also time consuming to date online; it can even turn you into an online addict in the process of trying so much to know more about this person you want to date.

Some people might decide to misrepresent themselves by filling in the wrong information like age, work, background, photos, among other important information.

It could also be difficult to set up priorities right since some people have access to a big number of prospective daters, which might make it difficult for one to make the right choice.

Irynie, jewelry designer

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It is not a good idea, I have watched so many movies, so I fear landing on a psychopath (psychopathy is a personality disorder characterised by persistent antisocial behaviour, impaired empathy and remorse, and bold, dis-inhibited, and egotistical traits.)

I believe one shouldn’t look for love on matchmaking sites because love comes naturally.

Emma Gahigana, journalist

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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